Posted in Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects 10-20% of Americans during the winter months. Research shows that SAD, also known as the “winter blues”, is due to the decrease in sunlight available during the autumn and winter months. Because there is a decrease in sunlight, there’s an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, contributing to depression-like symptoms.

Lead researcher Brenda McMahon and her colleagues, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, presented findings in 2014 at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress in Berlin, Germany. Such findings followed 11 people with SAD and 23 people without SAD during the summer and winter months to see how the levels of serotonin and SERT (serotonin transporter) proteins changed during the seasons.

The results showed that those with SAD had 5% higher levels of SERT proteins during the winter than in the summer. Those without SAD had unaffected SERT and serotonin levels. “SERT carries serotonin back into the nerve cells where it is not active, so the higher the SERT activity, the lower the activity of serotonin,” explains McMahon. This seems to offer confirmation that SERT is associated with SAD.

Robert Tisserand and Psychology Today discuss how serotonin, melatonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) are all contributors to the symptoms of SAD. They also offer ways that you can naturally increase these levels during the winter when sunlight is not highly available.

Here’s some great ways to increase those neurotransmitters for overall improved mood during the winter months:

  1. Vitamin D Supplementation
  2. Exercise
  3. Sunlight or Light Therapy
  4. Massage
  5. Recall Happier Times!
  6. Essential Oils
    1. Stimuating Oils (black pepper, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, rosemary)
    2. Calming Oils (bergamot, clary sage, orange, rose, sandalwood)

Seasons Greetings,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Resources:

Posted in Corrective Exercise, Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Safeguard Your Body This Holiday Season

A large downfall for many people is the inclusion of sugar into almost every meal and treat during the holidays. Many people will allow themselves to succumb to everything placed in front of them. However, this will give way to an insulin resistance that you really don’t want to fight.

The abuse of sugar and carbohydrates during these winter months will make it really difficult for your New Year’s efforts to pay off as quickly. We are all creatures that look for instant gratification when we set new goals. Waiting until the New Year to implement those goals will leave you sorely disappointed. That’s why I always recommend you start your new year a month early on December 1. Go into December with anticipation on sustainable eating habits, an exercise regiment, self-care techniques and stress release tactics. Go into the last month of your year setting the foundation for the holidays so that your body is prepared to go into the next month (and NEW YEAR) ready to go to the next level to absolutely CRUSH those goals you’ve set for yourself.

Here are some ways to get your brain, body and spirit to the next level:

  1. Start your day asking yourself these three questions (Brendon Burchard):
    1. What do I want out of today?
    2. Who needs me to be on my A-game today?
    3. What will I do today that might challenge me? How will I face those challenges?
  2. Create a monthly budget spreadsheet of all that comes in and all that goes out each month. This will help keep your finances in check, and your stress managed.
  3. Download the app Peak Brain Training to “level up your brain” and get daily reminders to get more wrinkles in your brain for higher neuroplasticity.
  4. Utilize therapeutic grade essential oils to calm your stress and anxiety as your to-do list piles up and to keep your energy up if you feel restless.
  5. Do five minutes of activity right when you wake up and at least five minutes of stretching before you head to bed. Here’s a great resource for hip and back mobility before your head hits the pillow!
  6. Drink pure therapeutic ketones twice daily to improve brain function, increased fat metabolism and sustained energy and hormone levels throughout the day!

Even though it’s December 10, you can still lay the ground work for the rest of your month so that January will be a rock star start to your 2018. The above mentioned techniques are just a few ways to tune in.

I am an advocate of education and a believer in holistic health. Every system in your body works synergistically: digestive, circulatory, nervous, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, reproductive and endocrine. Each one is equally important, and your brain is the circuit board for these operations; so care for your BRAIN first.

Cheers,
Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Corrective Exercise, Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Colder Temperatures Positively Affect Your Metabolism

Have you ever heard of BAT? Brown adipose tissue?

There exists two forms of fat in the human body: white fat and brown fat. The Scientific American shares that white fat cells store energy in the form of a single large, oily droplet that is otherwise relatively immobile. On the other hand, brown fat cells contain many smaller droplets, as well as energy machines known as mitochondria. Only in recent years have researchers found ways to convert white fat to brown fat. Having more active brown fat present can improve insulin sensitivity to help banish type 2 diabetes and heighten the body’s metabolism to reduce body weight.

Amongst multiple research studies, it is unanimous that lower temperatures force the body to induce thermogenesis, the heat generation that increases your body’s core temperature in order to bring it to homeostasis. When this takes place, white fat can then act like brown fat, otherwise called “beige” fat.

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Luckily, these temperatures do not have to be low enough to cause muscle quivering. In 2013, Japanese researchers had 12 young men with lower than average brown fat amounts to sit in a 63 degree Fairenheit room for two hours a day for six weeks. After six weeks, those 12 men were burning an extra 289 calories and PET-CT scans verified the heightened quantity of brown fat cells. They believe that exposure to these colder temperatures over six weeks increased the activity of a gene named UCP1, which seems to guide the conversion of white fat into beige fat. They also understand that exercise helps to increase UCP1 in conjunction with a hormone called irisin that helps convert white fat to beige fat.

A study supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2014 had 5 healthy men reside in a clinical research unit for 4 months. They would do their normal daily activities during get day then return to their private room for at least 10 hours each night. The temperature of the room was set to 24 °C (75 °F) during the first month, 19 °C (66 °F) the second month, 24 °C again for the third month, and 27 °C (81 °F) the fourth and last month. Each month, the men underwent extensive evaluation, including energy expenditure testing, muscle and fat biopsies, and PET/CT scanning of an area of the neck and upper back region to measure brown fat volume and activity.

After a month of exposure to 19 °C (66 °F), the participants showed a 42% increase in brown fat volume and a 10% increase in fat metabolic activity. During the following month of neutral temperature, these alterations returned to near baseline, and then completely reversed during the month of exposure to 27 °C (81 °F). All the changes occurred independently of seasonal changes.The increase in brown fat following cold exposure was accompanied by improved insulin sensitivity after a meal during which volunteers were exposed to mild cold. The extended exposure to mild cold also resulted in significant changes in metabolic hormones such as leptin and adiponectin.

Yu Hua Tseng, Ph.D., the Principal Investigator in the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at Joslin Diabetes Center, says that “brown fat is a natural defense system for obesity, diabetes and related diseases or conditions.” Because of the supporting research, the idea of activating brown fat as a way to combust this excess energy is now an attractive area of research for developing new treatments to help combat obesity and various metabolic diseases. Increasing your metabolic baseline by activating brown fat could be the key to combating such diseases or conditions.

Imagine this: exercise while being exposed to colder temperatures. George King, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Joslin Diabetes Center, recommend combining these known brown-fat activators by working out in the cold to get the maximum benefit. By doing so, you’d be revving up your conversion of white to beige fat, in turn burning more calories and improving insulin sensitivity!

Season’s Greetings,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Ketogenic Life

Digestive Enzymes: Pros and Cons

I’d like to start this discussion of digestive enzymes by providing data on the prevalence of digestive challenges in the United States from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. There are 60 to 70 million people affected annually by digestive diseases. In 2009, 245,921 deaths occurred in the United States in which one of many digestive diseases was the primary cause of death. The diseases include diagnoses like chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, GI infections, pancreatitis, abdominal wall hernias, diverticular disease, IBS, liver disease and viral hepatitis.

I hope this moves you to care for your digestive system more avidly.

This information should help you make more informed decisions about how to care for yourself. I’ve battled with digestive challenges my entire life, and I am finally learning applicable lessons that can transform the way my body processes, absorbs and utilizes the food and drinks I consume. A large debate exists between traditional medicine and functional medicine in regards to the implementation of digestive enzymes.

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In this video, Dr. Amy Meyers discusses when the supplementation of hydrochloric acid, the primary stomach acid, is appropriate. She does a marvelous job explaining where in the digestive process digestive enzymes should step in, and how functional medicine can be used when your digestive enzymes aren’t equipped to do the job on their own.

Many traditional medicine practitioners will prescribe medications to calm or alleviate the symptoms associated with the digestive challenge. Or they will tell you to cut everything out of your diet. Remove all of the food your body is having a hard time processing, and you’ll have no problems. That’s the thought at least. However, just like when a child has to get sick a couple of times to build immunity against all the sickness at school, your digestive system has to LEARN how to digest the foods you consume. That does not mean eat fried chicken every day to force your system into agreeing with it. That means you can not remove EVERYTHING from your diet to make the process less dynamic. Your digestive system was designed to consume unprocessed, nutritious food that’s made with integrity.

In discussing the hidden dangers of digestive enzymes, Dr. John Douillard summarizes what happens when digestive enzymes are utilized more frequently than necessary.

DIGESTIVE ENZYME SUMMARY

  1. Congested intestinal villi: stools that are too dry or too loose.
  2. Toxins drain from the gut to the liver.
  3. The bile in the liver becomes congested.
  4. The bile becomes too thick to flow through the bile ducts.
  5. Thick bile coats the pancreatic enzyme ducts.
  6. Small intestines signal for more bile and enzymes.
  7. Bile and enzyme ducts end up over-crowded and in digestive gridlock.
  8. Digestive fire weakens and food intolerances can appear
  9. Long-term enzyme dependency ignores the potentially serious underlying cause.

Dr. Douillard shares great insight on how you can avoid digestive disasters by consuming apples, beets, celery, artichokes, leafy greens and turmeric. It is beneficial for your digestive system to be cleansed on a regular basis. When you are constantly in a cleansing state, however, you can cleanse yourself into having a digestive system that only works if they keep cleansing it. Douillard calls these people cleansing casualties. It is recommended to pick one or two days a week to provide the cleanse your body needs to strengthen the system once again.

Take the necessary steps to further educate yourself on healthy digestion and how doing so can help brain function, hormone stability and longevity.

Cheers,

Coral A.J. Gibson

 

Posted in Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

PTSD vs. TBI Using SPECT Scans

Because CT and MRI scans are unable to detect with sensitivity and specificity what a SPECT scan can when diagnosing mild TBI and PTSD, a group of researchers (Daniel G. Amen ,Cyrus A. Raji , Kristen Willeumier , Derek Taylor , Robert Tarzwell , Andrew Newberg , and Theodore A. Henderson) chose to use SPECT scans to see if they could find a true difference between the brain of those with TBI and PTSD. SPECT scans provide the clinical utility of the “delineation of the neural circuitry underlying PTSD ” and the improved detection of TBI. The SPECT scans in this study contain populations of those with PTSD, TBI, co-morbidities as well as those unaffected by either. The following is a collection of the statistics of those with PTSD and TBI in both military and civilian populations in the United States.

Military:

  • DoD reported 307,283 diagnosed cases of TBI from 2000–2014.
  • Congressional Research Service reporting 103,792 diagnosed cases of PTSD from 2000–2012.
  • Over 400,000 military personnel and veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI since 2001 [17, 18], and many have been diagnosed with both. The overlap of these two populations has been estimated at 33% [34, 35] to 42% [39]. among veterans. Those who have experienced a blast-related TBI have more than double the risk of developing PTSD.

Civilian:

  • About 7.7 million in the US population suffer from PTSD.
  • TBI is also quite prevalent, with 2.5 million annual visits to emergency rooms for suspected TBI.
  • 49% of those with TBI are likely to be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness the following year.

Although the majority of TBI symptoms can resolve over time, a significant proportion of cases develop a persistent post-concussive syndrome (PCS). Long-term consequences of seemingly trivial head injuries may be significant. TBI scans found these areas of the brain to be of particular interest (orbitofrontal cortex, temporal poles, and anterior cingulum) while PTSD scans found these more interesting (amygdala [9], corpus callosum [10], insula [11], anterior cingulum [1214] and hippocampus [15, 16]). A recent meta-analysis showed that PTSD patients had significant activation in midline areas implicated in self-referential processing and autobiographical memory.

The treatments for PTSD and TBI/PCS are different. Therefore, by reliably separating them and accurately identifying cases in which both are present, the use of the SPECT scan emerges as a genuine diagnostic need. All PTSD-identifying regions were hyperactive on SPECT when compared across all groups, and the TBI-identifying regions were correspondingly hypoactive.

journal.pone.0129659.g003

Perfusion is defined by Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary as “the pumping of a fluid through an organ or tissue”; in this instance, through the brain. When you look at the scans above, you can truly see the differences in perfusion across the four groups receiving SPECT scans. A healthy control shows normal higher perfusion to the cerebellum. The PTSD subject shows increased perfusion in the brain—particularly in the frontal lobes. The TBI subject shows decreased perfusion throughout by comparison. The subject with both PTSD and TBI shows perfusion that is lower than the person with PTSD but higher than the subject with TBI. These results suggest that TBI is associated with hypoperfusion while PTSD is associated with regional hyperperfusion, which both provide  important insights in regards to the pathophysiological differences between the disorders.

Many research studies have found the positive benefits that pure therapeutic ketones have on the perfusion across the brain, along with the neural communication across its lobes. If you or anyone you know are interested in getting a SPECT scan of your brain, visit one of the Amen Clinics across the nation! My goal is to get this information into the hands of those affected by TBI and PTSD, and hopefully this will aid in doing so!

With warm regards,

Coral A.J. Gibson

 

Posted in Ketogenic Life

Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

Frequently, I encounter medical professionals who have a negative connotation associated with the words “ketosis” and “ketones”. Why is that?

In school, medical students are taught that ketones are present in the body when a diabetic patient is succumbing to kidney failure because of the excess presence of ketones in the bloodstream. With that knowledge, it seemed unfathomable how ketones could possibly be beneficial or even therapeutic. However, there’s something missing here. The aforementioned situation is a state called ketoacidosis.

In this state of ketoacidosis, blood ketone levels are above 10mmol AND blood glucose levels are high. The body becomes unable to utilize glucose for fuel; that glucose stays in the body and fat is broken down to create ketones for fuel. Then, “without insulin to control the amount of ketones produced during this process, an excessive amount is produced.” This is a vicious cycle. On the flip side, in a state of ketosis, optimal blood ketone levels are between 0.5 and 3 mmol AND blood glucose levels are stabilized.

optimal-ketosis-range-2

Can you see the difference there?

In a state of ketoacidosis, the body struggles to use both glucose and ketones as a fuel source, and is soon affected by this toxic state. Insulin and glucagon are unstable.

In a state of ketosis, the body is utilizing ketones as the primary fuel source with assistance from glucose as need be. The use of dual fuel is the ideal metabolism for the majority of the population. Reference my other articles to see why this concept of dual fuel is so important in your health and longevity.

To a better fuel source,

Coral A.J. Gibson

 

Posted in Ketogenic Life

Is Ketosis Safe During Pregnancy?

Absolutely.

I should preface this article by saying: this is not medical advice and any information provided should be discussed with your doctor prior to making a change in your diet or supplementation.

Now, this is a hot topic amongst new moms in the community who are learning about the benefits of ketosis. They are wondering, “but is it safe for me and my baby?”

The mother will experience all the beauties of ketosis for herself. And the baby, will in turn receive these ketones through the placenta. An interesting fact is that the mother will actually become more insulin resistant towards the end of gestation to force a push of nutrients to the fetus through the placenta. This is when the ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones are needed more than ever. Primarily, it will help the mother curb cravings that would spike insulin; and secondarily, it will ensure the fetus gets everything it needs to physiologically grow at the capacity it needs to before birth.

Similarly , Maria Emmerich shares the science behind breastfeeding and why it’s even more beneficial for the baby when mom is in ketosis. Children are born into a state of ketosis. Breast milk is naturally high in fat, which will reinforce the infant being in ketosis and becoming keto-adapted. This will help the child’s brain develop more efficiently. Coconut oil increases lauric acid in the breast milk, which is a rare medium chain fatty acid that promotes a healthy metabolism.

mom_baby

You know what’s even better? The mother in ketosis will have more natural energy, will want to be more physically active and will have a strong brain to handle the challenges proposed when being pregnant and carrying a child.

Ketotic.org states “When the brain is in its period of highest growth, and when the source of food is likely to be close to what it evolved to be for that period, ketones are used to fuel that growth.” That means that, even as the infant grows, it needs to be provided with a ketogenic diet and ketones to help accelerate its development physiologically. For some reason, parents get soft and allow their children to become obsessed with sugar. Most parents don’t just let their kiddos have sugar every once in awhile; they allow the child to bargain by using treats and desserts.

Unfortunately, the child usually wins that sugar battle.

All the care taken by the mother to create an incredible child during gestation needs to continue as we teach the children of our future how to care for their brain and body.

To a happy and healthy mom and baby,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Ketogenic Life

Exogenous vs. Endogenous Ketones

The empirical research and powerful testimonials concerning ketosis are of abundance.

You might have had this question run across your mind, like many people looking for health optimization: what is the difference between taking exogenous ketones and following a ketogenic diet?

Either way, the body will benefit. Let’s talk about this difference.

Simply put, “exogenous” refers to something that is sourced from outside of the body. All supplements are therefore considered exogenous because they are ingested rather than created by the body. “Endogenous” refers to something created within the body.

Is that simplified enough? I hope so.

Now the question becomes what are the implications of that exogenous vs. endogenous? Are there any specific differences between taking exogenous ketones and producing endogenous ketones? This video from Michael Rutherford clearly explains the difference; don’t let it be too complicated.

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Alchemy Athletics provides this incredible insight to the community. Endogenous “ketosis can be unsustainable in the long-term considering that just a small amount of carbohydrates or excess protein can kick you out of ketosis.” This is very true. And this is why exogenous ketone use can be so handy in long-term health and wellness. Learn more about the benefits of exogenous ketone supplementation in Alchemy Athletics’ Ketones 101 and read through the resources listed at the bottom of the article!

Onward and Upward,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Ketogenic Life

Intermittent Fasting

Let’s talk about how intermittent fasting will revolutionize your brain and metabolism.

The benefits are numerous, yet the most important is a simpler and longer life. I imagine you’ve seen people meal prepping, packing 6 meals a day to eat every two hours on the hour like clockwork. Doing so makes your body dependent on the incoming food. Your brain counts down the minutes, your insulin spikes and crashes and your hormones make you hangry if you are a few minutes late. Intermittent fasting is the opposite!

Intermittent fasting (IF) means that you will consume fewer meals and practice  more periods of fasting. There are multiple schedules you can follow. The easiest to follow, and the one I recommend beginners do to start, is to wake up, drink their ketones and wait to have their first meal until they are truly hungry. This will help the body relearn the signals for hunger rather than just following culture and time patterns. For many, that time comes around 12-1pm. They then use an 8 hour feeding window, so their last meal of the day should be consumed before 8-9pm.

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As I discussed last week, your body might reach a plateau when following any routine for an extended period of time. When your body is ready for a new routine, you can implement one of the other intermittent fasting schedule options outlined by Intermittent Fasting 101 from Keto Kookie. As your body gets more accustomed to this new way of eating, you might implement a full 24- or 48-hour fast. Doing so regularly will dramatically help with cell regeneration, ridding your body of toxins, allowing it to recover from the abundance of tasks it has daily. Intermittent Fasting can also help in chronic disease prevention as The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discusses here.

*Note: While Intermittent Fasting is widely regarded as the optimal way to eat, you should always talk to a doctor before making dietary decisions.

Challenge yourself to start Intermittent Fasting beginning with dinner this Sunday night.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

To health and happiness,

Coral Gibson